The Labradoodle is an extremely popular and beloved dog breed across the U.S. and the world. A genetic mix of the Poodle and the Labrador Retriever, the Labradoodle boasts a range of physical and mental traits that make them highly sought after both as pets and service dogs.
Many people choose to adopt a Labradoodle into their lives because of their family-oriented, gentle, and loving natures. However, first-time Labradoodle owners often discover that they are unprepared for their new friend’s high-maintenance grooming needs.
Sadly, irregular or improper grooming can lead to a whole host of dermatological issues for your Labradoodle.
Today, we’ll be guiding you through the process of grooming your Labradoodle properly to help you bond with your furry friend and help your pup enjoy the best possible quality of life.
All About Labradoodles
Before we jump into the step-by-step guide to grooming Labradoodles, we thought it would be helpful to provide some information and context on these gorgeous dogs. After all, the key to meeting your pet’s needs when they can’t necessarily communicate them to you is knowledge and understanding.
The Labradoodle was bred into existence around the mid-1900s, although the popularity of the breed didn’t soar for several decades. In the 1980s, Labradoodle popularity began to pick up, and as of today, the Labradoodle is one of the most popular dog breeds out there.
Labradoodles have inherited the traits of their parent breeds. As a result, they are highly intelligent dogs with impressive athletic ability. They are sweet-natured and sociable, so they generally love being handled by their owners.
Possibly the most unique and noticeable trait of the Labradoodle at first glance is its coat.
Owing to the Poodle’s tight curls and the density of the Labrador’s coat, Labradoodles have thick, often curly hair. The length and texture of the coat can vary, although the ideal Labradoodle coat is between 4 and 6 inches long and fleece-like to the touch.
Some Labradoodles don’t shed at all, which why some people believe them to be hypoallergenic, while others malt quite frequently. Therefore, much of your grooming ritual will be dictated by the individuality of your Labradoodle’s fur.
How to Groom a Labradoodle
So, now we know exactly what kind of coat we’re dealing with, it’s time to break down the grooming process. Remember that while this might seem like a lot of work, it will become second nature to you over time and will help to keep your dog healthy and happy.
Step 1: Start with a clean, dry coat
Before you do anything else, you should make sure that your Labradoodle’s coat is freshly clean and dry.
Grooming a dirty coat is likely to be unpleasant as well as more difficult. Plus, regular bathing helps to prevent tangling and matting, so a good wash is an excellent place to start.
Make sure to wash your Labradoodle with a gentle, cleansing shampoo formula. Labradoodles have quite sensitive skin, so they’re likely to react badly to allergens. We’d recommend the Burt’s Bees Itch-Soothing Shampoo for Dogs or something similar. If you are unsure which shampoo to use, then check our our guide to the Best hypoallergenic shampoos.
Because we humans usually have our hair cut when it’s wet, it might seem logical to do the same for your Labradoodle. However, it’s best to thoroughly dry your dog’s coat before grooming.No products found.
Step 2: Use a de-matting tool
Once your Labradoodle is clean and dry, you can get to work with your de-matting tool, otherwise known as a de-matting brush.
De-matting tools for dogs are rake-like tools designed to remove loose hairs and anything that might have remained stuck in your dog’s fur despite the bathing process. It’s also good for tackling particularly nasty tangles.
Feel through your Labradoodle’s coat with your hands to check for any matted areas. When you find a tangle, hold the hair gently above the matting and gently work through it with the rake. Take care not to use force or work too quickly since this can be painful for your pup.No products found.
Step 3: Spray with detangler
We’d recommend spritzing your Labradoodle’s fur with detangling spray at this point. Getting smaller tangles out of Labradoodle fur can be a real challenge, especially when the hair is curly as opposed to wavy.
Detangling spray will essentially help to condition the hairs for easier manipulation. Just be careful not to get any of the spray in your dog’s mouth or eyes.No products found.
Step 4: Get out the detangling brush
Although your de-matting tool is designed to tackle larger knotted areas, you’ll also want to use a detangling brush or slicker brush to tease out any more minor tangles.
Remember to pass the brush all over your dog’s body, including their legs, feet, and face, being extra gentle on bony areas since these tend to be more sensitive.No products found.
Step 5: Comb
To make sure you haven’t missed any spots, run a dog comb gently through your dog’s fur, moving with the grain of the hair. This should pick up on any tiny tangles that your de-matting tool and detangling brush may have passed over.No products found.
Step 6: Final touches
If your Labradoodle is in need of a trim, now would be the time to do it. However, if you don’t feel comfortable giving your dog a haircut yourself, that’s fine – just make sure you book your pooch in with your local dog groomer as soon as possible to avoid matting due to overlong hair.
You can also take this time to execute any finishing touches to your Labradoodle’s grooming routine.
If your dog has smelly breath or their nails are getting long, a quiet moment when they’re already clean and sitting still (like the end of a grooming session) is the perfect time to get the clippers or toothbrush out.
Step 7: Reward!
Grooming can be a stressful process for dogs, even friendly and well-behaved breeds like the Labradoodle.
If your Doodle has sat still and co-operated, don’t forget to offer lots of cuddles and maybe a tasty treat as a reward!
Step 8: Repeat regularly
You should groom your Labradoodle roughly twice a week. Depending on the specific texture and shedding of your dog’s individual coat, you may wish to do a quick brush every day on top of longer, bi-weekly sessions.
Note that you don’t need to bathe your Labradoodle before every brush; only bathe every couple of weeks or as required.
Doodle breeds are renowned for their curly coats, which is why as their owner, you should take great care to ensure that it is well maintained. This not only includes regular grooming, but that you also feed your Labradoodle a well-balanced diet with the correct amounts of nutrients and proteins to keep their coats in tip top conditon.